Hillary Kempenich

Pronouns: She/Her
Tribal Affiliation: Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa


Hillary Kempenich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) is a multi-disciplinary, award winning artist, cultural bearer, and advocate, emphasizing her work to empower Indigenous people. Hillary has immersed herself into sustaining her small business and continues her passion for community work. Raised on the Turtle Mountain reservation, Kempenich continues to advocate for better educational, health and cultural standards through her work in both urban and rural communities.

Hillary Kempenich is fluent in many mediums with a collaborative style influenced by her independent spirit as a creative woman and her deep connection to her heritage of Ojibwe, Cree, Assiniboine, Dakota, and French-Canadian ancestral roots. Memories, traditions, and stories are continually incorporated into Kempenich’s work to empower and honor Indigenous women, youth, and fellow LGBTQIA+ Two-Spirit peoples. Kempenich comes from a family of strong artist abilities, of which are strong influences within her work. While holding on to the ties to the Turtle Mountains, Kempenich works on developing her trades with her own personal style.

Hillary has a growing list of group and solo shows, collaborations, as well as receiving recognition nationwide. The beginning of Kempenich’s career was marked by awards from the National Indian Child Welfare Association, Native Arts Gathering and the First Peoples Fund. Hillary Kempenich received a second-place ribbon in the prestigious SWAIA’s Indian Market in 2018. Hillary’s artwork has recently been published in the “Finish the Fight!” a book written by New York Times author Veronica Chambers. “Finish the Fight!” are chronicles of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color suffragists, whose stories may have gone untold. Hillary’s work continues to be featured in private collections, museums, and galleries throughout the United States. The U.S. Department of Interior Museum and Secretary of Art has acquired the piece “Resilience: A Portrait of Zitkala-Sa,” in Washington, D.C. to be part of their permanent collection and catalog.

Hillary holds a bachelor’s degree from University of North Dakota. She serves on the Grand Forks Foundation for Education Alumni Network board of directors and the North Dakota Indian Business Alliance board of directors. Hillary also serves as an arts and cultural consultant and has started the wearable art line Zazegaa Designs by Hillary Kempenich. Hillary lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota with her family.